Be a Dear and Bring 'Round the Cars: The Greenwich Concours, 2006

The 2006 Greenwich Concours d'Elegance is the kind of event where the parking lot could be confused with the show itself: I puttered in as a guy driving a Maybach 57 was coolly gliding out. You see that kind of stuff in Greenwich. You also see tiny dogs being chauffeured in man-purses, but we're
here to talk about cars.

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Local dealerships ringed the concours area and made white tents their showrooms. At twelve, three, six and nine o clock around the concours sat a white-on-white Bugatti Veyron, a black Mercedes McLaren SLR, the next-generation Audi S8 with its ex-Lamborghini V10 (and no VIN), and a Spyker
C8 like a jewel in black and aluminum. Plus, a guy tried to sell me a Gulfstream. This was just the sideshow.

The height of American style at the show was Malcolm Pray Jr.'s 1934 Auburn Boattail Speedster. Its twelve-cylinder powerplant, (notice the various "12" accents), was made for aircraft duty by Lycoming, but the bodywork is all Auburn, Indiana. Pray found this particular car in a Los Angeles junkyard 25 years ago and restored it to million-dollar status.

Some other highlights:

· 1961 Fiat Jolly 500: Half a liter of displacement, a cloth top and wicker seats. I think the only respectable way to drive this is on your own property with a drink in your hand.

· 1957 Dual Ghia: Body by Carrozzeria Ghia Studios, D-500 Hemi engine, only 117 were made with an estimated 32 surviving. Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. both owned one. Rita Hayworth's bloomers may still be shoved in the glovebox.

· 1955 Abarth 207A spec racer, with body by Carozzeria Boano: One of ten made. Note the black Scorpion on the tail. (Background: 83 Ferrari 512 BBi, '73 365 GTB/4 Daytona, '68 Ferrari 365 GT 2+2 Coupe)

· 1996 Porsche 993 Turbo with bodywork by Strosek. Note the dual air intakes on the leading edges of the rear wing.

· 1974 BMW 2002 Turbo: I'm not sure why the "2002 Turbo" on the front splitter is written as a mirror-image, possibly so cars in front know to get out of the way. (Background '63 Mercedes-Benz 300SL).

· 1957 BMW 507: The 2005 M5's V10 was given exactly 507hp in order to pay homage this car. (Background: '89 635 CSi).

· 1952 Chrysler Ghia One-Off SWB (Short Wheel Base): Possibly the only one of its kind in the world. I wasn't able to get any further information, but it's gorgeous in person.

· 1967 Lamborghini 400GT: Without a single flat plane anywhere on its body. Compare and contrast with the current crop. (Background: '65 Ferrari 275 GTB)

· 1957 Maserati 450 S Costin-Zagato, one of ten ever made. 4.5L V-8, 4 Weber carbs, 400hp: made by Maserati to piss off Ferarri and Jaguar in the sports car World Championship at events like the Mille Miglia and Le Mans. This car may or may not have once been driven by Stirling Moss and Juan Manuel Fangio, depending on the person with whom you're speaking.

· 1953 Allard J2: Made as a rolling chasis with the buyer adding his own motor. In most cases that motor was a 5.4 liter Cadillac V-8. This car still races in vintage classes at Lime Rock Park, Laguna Seca and Watkins Glen with its owner, Richard Myers, at the helm. Nacy Myers (pictured) told me they restored it in 1996 after buying it worse-for-wear from an owner in Florida.

[By James Gribbon]

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